‘House of Secrets’ by Diana Harker

This book is designed for children aged from 11 years onwards. It is a pick up-put down sort of book so the reader must be able to remember what happened. The main character is Jane, a girl who lives with her mother in an impoverished existence. The book is the account of her experiences when she is transported to another time. There are some sinister goings on and Jane makes friends with a girl called Lucy. The main problem seems to be that Jane is going further away from being able to return to her present-day life.

There are several story lines running through the book. I would imagine that children who read this have either read similar books by the author or love the mysterious side of life. There are things that may be scary to some children and sometimes the explanations are implausible. There are lies and intrigue and adults are sometimes revealed at their worst moments.

It didn’t do it for me. This book would have benefited from some pictures to illustrate the house where the story takes place. We are told that it used to be grand but now is unloved and uncared for. The front cover gives some indication of how it may have looked but it reminded me more of Bates Motel. Perhaps I am too cynical.

I think this book would work as a class book for children just entering secondary education. The language is wonderful and the use of vocabulary superb. This is a book to be shared.

Harker, Diana (2009) House of Secrets

Book Guild Publishing

ISBN : 978 1 84624 3578

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